Lisa Davis: Critters come crawling out in the country
Oct 27, 2013 | 1349 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was a misty, moisty morning. The fog had settled in droplets on the spider webs. There were dozens of them suddenly visible on the ground under the trees, evidence of grass spiders. Along the ridge, a half a dozen giant webs, spun by black and yellow garden spiders, sparkled in the sunlight.

Certain members of the family freaked out at this sight, but not me. I love spiders.

Since we moved to a house in the woods two months ago, I have been in critter high cotton.

Sometimes I will find little green anole lizards on my screen porch. I caught one once and watched it turn from green to brown and back again. You’re supposed to be able to hypnotize them by rubbing their bellies, which I will try the next time I catch one.

I have spotted several varieties of fuzzy caterpillars, but I don’t know what they are so I’m not touching them.

My children do not share my appreciation for creepy-crawly things. You should have heard the scream when my teenage daughter almost touched a tiny tree frog that had been hiding on top of the water hose.

The dog appreciates living in the woods. She has shown up at the back door twice already with a dead squirrel dangling from her mouth. She is so proud of herself, and yet I cannot share her enthusiasm.

One day, I spotted the big yellow lab from next door trotting along with a rabbit dangling from her mouth.

Driving home late one night, I had to stop to let two deer cross the road.

I’ve heard that there used to be a family of foxes in the neighborhood, until the coyotes got them a year or so ago.

So far, the critters I have encountered have been relatively benign. It wasn’t always that way the last time we had a house in the woods. Once, when the kids were very small, a rabid skunk wandered into our back yard. My husband could tell it was rabid because it was bobbing and weaving and out in broad daylight. He ushered the kids back into the house and armed himself with the closest thing at hand: a bottle rocket left over from the Fourth of July.

He lit that thing up and shot fireballs at the skunk. One of them bit him directly in the buttocks.

It was my mama who taught me how to deal with snakes in the yard: Leave the good snakes alone, but if it’s a copperhead, chop off its head with a hoe.

The first time I encountered a snake near the house, I didn’t have a hoe. Instead, I grabbed the closest thing at hand: a croquet mallet that my son had left laying in the yard.

My son was 2 at the time, and one of his favorite things to do was pound on an old tree stump with a croquet mallet.

You can kill a snake with a croquet mallet. Just not as cleanly as with a hoe.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Contact Lisa Davis at
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